She looked small in the oversized jersey.
I could feel her reaching out, but she said nothing.
Someone who cuts uses self-inflicted pain to get a high in order to self-medicate their pain with a temporary feel good. The problem is the feel good quickly turns to a feel bad, or worse, to addiction. – Unknown
Everything in her body language pushed me away, but her eyes were beckoning me in. It’s when you talk about nothing important that the really significant issues surface.
Adolescents generally don’t start injuring themselves because of the influence of friends. They are more likely to choose new friends who share their behaviour. – Michael Hollander
She often found my open door and inviting chair. I got used to the small frame standing for a while and then sitting down without saying a word.
I noticed the long sleeves in summer when she was losing the battle. My heart celebrated the victories with her when she showed me her bare arms.
She still spoke to me without saying a word.
You’re trying to destroy your body in some way without trying to kill yourself. – Kimberley Harrison
I witnessed her life, but the unspoken always lingered between us.
It was after almost two years that the fog lifted, and she allowed me into an unknown space.
‘People perceive me as an attention seeker and manipulator,’ she said.
How long have you been doing this? I asked. ‘Long, long before anyone noticed,’ she replied. ‘Besides, if you know about it, it’s everywhere.’
But why would you do it? ‘Because this is the only thing in my life that I have control over. If I feel the physical pain, I forget about my emotions. You might not understand this, but I struggle with negative thoughts and emotions every day. Cutting is my way of coping.’
How does hurting yourself make you feel better? ‘If I cut, I feel the pain and then I feel a rush, I feel better and it calms me down. In that specific moment it feels as if I will be okay. The problem is that my body got used to this and it built tolerance, this means I have to cut more often and sometimes deeper. Cutting is an addiction, it is something I struggle with every day.’
Why didn’t you talk to me about this? ‘Because I feel so ashamed, and I am scared that you will judge me.’
We sing to God, break my heart for what breaks Yours …
I realise that we have no idea what we are saying.
This is the story of one girl – someone who suffered through sexual abuse, neglect and rejection.
She copes with all of this in a way that is totally foreign to me. She was afraid to speak out because she feared judgment.
This breaks my heart.
Why do people self-harm?
Many people who harm themselves are struggling with intolerable distress or unbearable situations. A person will often struggle with difficulties for some time before they self-harm. They may have feelings of worthlessness, loneliness, panic, anger, guilt, rejection, self-hatred or confused sexuality. Through self-harm they try to cope with stress, numb emotional pain, feel a sense of control, cry out for help, or punish themselves for things they think they did wrong. Self-injury generally provides temporary relief to intense emotional pain. (www.mobieg.co.za)
For more information, go to:
Download the free e-book: Understanding Self-Harm
Here is a useful guide explaining the link between addiction and anxiety